April 27, 2013

Interview with Stephen Brayton

Posted in Interviews tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:00 am by Christine Rice

Stephen BraytonStephen L. Brayton owns and operates Brayton’s Black Belt Academy in Oskaloosa, Iowa. He is a Fifth Degree Black Belt and certified instructor in The American Taekwondo Association.

He began writing as a child; his first short story concerned a true incident about his reactions to discipline. During high school, he wrote for the school newspaper and was a photographer for the yearbook. For a Mass Media class, he wrote and edited a video project.

In college, he began a personal journal for a writing class; said journal is ongoing. He was also a reporter for the college newspaper.

During his early twenties, while working for a Kewanee, Illinois radio station, he wrote a fantasy-based story and a trilogy for a comic book.

He has written numerous short stories – both horror and mystery.

His first novel, Night Shadows (Feb. 2011), concerns a Des Moines homicide investigator teaming up with a federal agent to battle creatures from another dimension. His second book, Beta (Oct. 2011), was the debut of Mallory Petersen and her search for a kidnapped girl. In August 2012, the second Mallory Petersen book, Alpha, was published. This time she investigates the murder of her boyfriend.

Christine: How long have you been a writer?

Stephen: Well, I can’t claim I was a writer right from the womb, but soon afterward. ‘Soon’ being a relative term, of course. I loved books from an early age, and one day I thought that with all of the books I’d read, mysteries and science fiction and horror, I’d like try my hand at writing some stories. I created a character called Sam P. Petersen who lived in the Quad Cities (where I spent my early years) and worked for the East Moline Police Department. I wrote short stories featuring him. Those were my first attempts at short story writing and character profiling. From the time I started talking about writing, my parents encouraged me to continue creating stories. I wrote during college and became serious in the late-90s.

Christine: What have you published recently?

Stephen: Well, my last book, Alpha, was published in August of 2012, but my most recent publication has been the first part of a serialized short story called “White Belt Weapons” in Taekwondo Times magazine. The March issue published an interview with me as a ‘Person of Interest,’ and the May issue began what I hope to be a long-term relationship with them on short stories.

Christine: Are you solely a writer or do you have multiple occupations?

Stephen: I’m a Fifth Degree Black Belt and own and operate a taekwondo club in Oskaloosa; plus, I have a full-time job. I have to find time to write during the slow hours or days off.

Christine: What is a typical day like for you as a writer?

Stephen: Depends on the day. My schedule is never the same from week to week. I could work weekends or nine nights in a row. Usually, I’m on the graveyard shift from 11-7; sleep until the middle of the afternoon; class on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings; back to work at 11. During the night, I have plenty of time to write. On days off or afternoons, I may head outside to write or fish or visit family. I wish I could tell you I was an international spy in a different locale every day… At least the travel part sounds fun.

Christine: What is the title of your most recently published novel and a description of it?

AlphaStephen: Alpha is about Mallory Petersen, a Fourth Degree Black Belt in taekwondo and private investigator in Des Moines, Iowa. Usually her cases involve the oddballs of society, but every now and then she takes on a serious investigation. In this book, she’s relating a story to her current boyfriend about her involvement in the investigation of the murder of her previous boyfriend. Along with that case, she’s also searching for a missing woman.

Christine: What are your favorite characters that you have created? Tell us about them.

Stephen: Of course I’m in love with Mallory. Six feet tall, blonde, blue eyes, drop dead gorgeous, excellent martial artist and instructor, strong, independent, quirky sense of humor, and a romantic.

I know an author is supposed to know almost everything about all the characters, but I’m still discovering things about Mallory’s office manager Darren. Currently, he doesn’t have a last name. That issue will be solved in the next book. He’s enigmatic, quiet, loyal, and always seems to know where Mallory is and what she’s doing. This drives her crazy sometimes.

Christine: Where can we find your novels?

Stephen: Alphawww.amazon.com/Alpha-Stephen-L-Brayton/dp/1610091159
Beta (Mallory’s introduction. Ebook only) – www.amazon.com/Beta-Mallory-Petersen-Mystery-ebook/dp/B005UHEWPC
Night Shadows (eBook only) – www.amazon.com/Night-Shadows-ebook/dp/B004O0VD1M

Christine: Who are your favorite authors?

Stephen: Ellery Queen – I think I’ve read almost every one of his mysteries.
Erle Stanley Garnder – Ditto.
H. P. Lovecraft – The master.
Clark A. Smith – A close second to Lovecraft.
Elaine Viets – She helps inspire my humorous creativity.
Sparkle Abbey – Who doesn’t like dog and cat mysteries?
Robert Pobi – A true genius with words.
Frank Kane, Carter Brown, Day Keene, (and others in the same genre) – Pulp fiction mysteries. I really enjoy the flavor of these stories.

Christine: Where can we find you on the Web?

Stephen: Website – www.stephenbrayton.com
Blog – www.stephenbrayton.wordpress.com
Book Review Blog – www.braytonsbookbuzz.wordpress.com
I’m also on Facebook and Twitter (@SLBrayton).

April 23, 2013

Cover Reveal

Posted in Books, Publishing, Self-Publishing tagged , , , , , , , at 1:52 pm by Christine Rice

How are you all doing today? I’ve been enjoying the spring weather and trying to get outside as much as possible. Some news: I’m pleased to announce that my book cover for Chronicles of a Troubled Girl has been created. I won the free cover design on a giveaway courtesy of ErmisendaDESIGN on Ermilia Blog. I am very pleased with the cover and I think it represents my memoir very well. None of my published books have people on them, but I knew the cover for Chronicles needed a teenage girl on it. If you like my cover, visit ErmisendaDESIGN and contact Ermisenda for your own book cover. You can also visit Ermilia Blog, where she has giveaways and free book covers. Take care!

Book cover image

April 7, 2013

Editing and formatting my work-in-progress

Posted in Books, Editing, Publishing tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:02 pm by Christine Rice

Hello, World!

I am pleased to announce that I have resumed working on my work-in-progress, Chronicles of a Troubled Girl. I’m in the editing and formatting stage. I worked on it for over two hours yesterday. What got me working on it again? Well, my husband mentioned my book, asking how I was coming along with it. I told him I had finished writing it and I just needed to edit it. That conversation created a spark in my mind that motivated me to resume working on it. I intend to spend as much time on it as I can until it’s finished and ready to publish.

I’m enjoying reading the book as I’m editing it. I think it’s going to be a great book that tells the story – in the form of personal journal entries – of my challenging life. There are a few journal entries from when I was 9 and 10 years old. Then it glides into my teenage years, starting with age 14 and continuing all the way up to age 30. That was the last time I wrote a journal entry, because I didn’t need the therapy of journal writing to get through tough times, because my life had smoothed out and improved.

In the book my personal thoughts and unique actions are communicated. I talk about the people who meant the most to me. My feelings are as clear as day and permeate from the words I wrote. My experiences of growing up with controlling parents, my rebellion against my parents and life, my use of drugs and alcohol, my mental illness, my eating disorder, my career changes, love and relationships, and going to school to pursue my passions are all revealed in this book.

The book is personal, deep, revealing, and honest. The words were written respectfully and tactfully, so I did not go into extreme detail about uncomfortable matters; therefore, the book will not embarrass me or my readers.

If you would like to read and review my book, email me at christine@christinerice-author.com, and as soon as it’s published (which I anticipate will be in a couple months or less) I’ll email you an ebook copy in exchange for your promise to write a short review on it.

I can’t wait to wrap up this book and get it out to the world!

Have a great day!